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Edinburgh Fringe launch 2019: Festival urges audiences to try something new this year

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The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 programme has been officially unveiled.

This year’s aim is to get people to try something new, with festival organisers urging audiences to look beyond the big names and venues.

An ‘Inspiration Machine’ – an interactive, arcade-style machine that will randomly display videos from Fringe artists at the push of a button – will be located on the Mound throughout August, with the aim to inspire audiences to see something a bit different.

Another new addition is the FringeMaker game, which hopes to encourage visitors to explore different venues, see shows and tackle random Fringe challenges using an app.

This year’s festival will take place throughout August and features performances from a record 63 countries, with 203 from mainland Europe.

The Edinburgh Fringe

They will cover a wide range of themes, including climate change, migration, space, body image and ethnic minority identity.

Although organisers want audiences to check out lesser-known acts, the big names will also be in attendance too.

Eddie Izzard, Omid Djalili, Russell Howard, Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan are just some of the high-profile comedians and speakers lined up.

It’s also hoped this festival will be the most accessible yet, with dedicated wheelchair access viewing spaces and sensory backpacks for visitors on the autism spectrum.

For those on a budget, as always, free shows will take place throughout the festival.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “The Fringe is a remarkable feat of engineering and human endeavour, and this year we are celebrating all the artists, writers, crew, staff, venue operators, audience members and more who come together to Make Your Fringe.

“This year’s festival will feature 744 shows from Edinburgh, 963 from Scotland and work from a record 63 countries, which collectively help make the Fringe the greatest celebration of arts and culture on the planet.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop added: “The Fringe is an economic powerhouse, generating £144m for the Edinburgh economy and £173m for Scotland’s economy.

“This year, the programme demonstrates once again why it is one of the most important events in the international cultural calendar. Innovation and creativity will provide unforgettable moments for festival goers and will raise Scotland’s standing on the world stage.”

See this year’s programme in full: